Iowa Nursing Home Cited for Intimidation and Abuse of Residents by Staff

This marks the second nursing home malpractice citation in seven months for the Iowa Nursing Home, Lenox Care Center, in Taylor County. Last year federal officials imposed a fine of $34,661 against Lenox Care for nursing home abuse when a nurse at the facility allegedly used a bed sheet to tie a resident to a chair.

The state of Iowa has cited a state nursing home for the intimidation and unreasonable punishment of two of its residents, says an Iowa Capital Dispatch article. The Lenox Care Center in southern Iowa has been accused of engaging in nursing home malpractice by denying food, beverages, and privileges to two residents as punishment for incontinence the staff believed was intentional and vengeful.

A state inspection of the facility reported the following findings of nursing home malpractice: unreasonable intimidation and punishment; failing to put in place interventions to prevent falls; failing to ensure staff members possessed the basic skills necessary to address residents’ needs; and failing to report to the state resident abuse and accidents with major injuries. The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals subsequently imposed numerous fines totaling $27,000. These fines are being held in suspension while federal officials contemplate imposing a federal fine against the facility.

State inspectors’ reports and facility records indicate that in the spring and summer of 2022, one female resident of the home was repeatedly denied outdoor and smoking privileges for declining baths, refusing to wheel herself in her wheelchair, requesting second helpings of food, and wetting her bed “until all blankets were soaked.” This resident was told by staff she had signed contracts agreeing to the loss of privileges if she refused baths or asked for extra food. State inspectors later reported that the food “contract” referenced by the staff had not been signed by the resident, the staff dietician, or any employee of the facility; however, a sign discovered by the inspector on the wall in the resident’s room reading “You agreed with the dietitian that you will not ask for extra food at meal times and extra snacks as you have had substantial weight gain” was signed by the facility’s director of nursing.

A second female resident was disciplined for what staff nurses considered vengeful and manipulative incontinence after allegedly being told it was unreasonable for her to ask for bathroom assistance every two hours. Notes in this resident’s file stated that she was “educated that there was no reason for her to be incontinent at all as she was the youngest resident here and has had no children … (She) only has accidents for attention and when she was mad and she doesn’t get her way on something.” Another note stated she “was incontinent of bowel two times yesterday. Not allowed to have coffee today.”

According to the article, the director of nursing at Lenox Care Center was suspended on March 31 “for alleged abuse pending the investigation.”

Last year federal officials fined Lenox Care Center in excess of $34,000 for alleged nursing home abuse. State records say that on Aug. 20, 2022, a female resident trying to leave the facility was grabbed by the arm and pulled back to a common area by a nurse, where she was forced into a chair and held down by an aide while the nurse tied her legs to the chair with a bed sheet.

Psychological Abuse is Nursing Home Malpractice

Psychological abuse in nursing homes does unfortunately occur. This type of nursing home malpractice is defined as when a staff member or another nursing home resident causes fear, distress, or humiliation in a nursing home resident by yelling, threatening, or belittling him or her or by acts of coercion, forced isolation, or some other punishment. If your loved one shows signs of agitation, depression, uncharacteristic violence, or some other uncharacteristic behavior, it is possible nursing home psychological abuse has occurred. If you’re concerned about this or any form of nursing home abuse or neglect, you should contact a nursing home malpractice and wrongful death attorney immediately.

Demanding Accountability for Nursing Home Abuse and Wrongful Death

Attorney Brian P. Murphy is dedicated to protecting the safety and preserving the rights of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, or New Jersey nursing home residents. As an experienced nursing home malpractice and wrongful death attorney, Brian Murphy has made it his mission to hold negligent Philadelphia/PA or NJ nursing homes responsible for physical abuse, psychological abuse, neglect, and other types of nursing home malpractice. Should you find yourself needing to contact a nursing home malpractice and wrongful death attorney, or if you need guidance in choosing a nursing home, call Brian Murphy today to discuss your legal options.